Danielle Eliska Lyle
2016 Annual Juried Competition 
Second Place Winner

Statement:
My purpose is to tell stories of powerful women, of Black Diaspora and the state of Black culture. These are subjects I am most passionate about.

Black culture is ever-changing, yet the world around us reacts the same. There are too many untold truths of the past and present—too many great ideas suppressed because they do not fit the cookie-cut tradition of mainstream. My work encourages discussion so we can begin to understand the differences and similarities, alike—discarding the negative so we can rise above the habit of ignoring the fundamentals of who we are.

We are all connected in some way. We cannot allow only one type of story to be told. The truth must be uncovered for the world to see. In that, comes impact and change. I strive to reach the souls of the viewers—not telling them what to think—by presenting possibilities.

My recent series entitled, Female Protagonist, is a creative collaboration with gifted actresses that empowers the female voice, body, character & existence– coupled with short videos of each artist, revealing an up close & personal glimpse of themselves they keep under lock and key.

Women are complex, beautiful. Eve ate the fruit; Helen of Troy’s face launched 1000 ships; Cleopatra brought powerful men to their knees; Joan of Arc lead men into battle because of believed visions; Queen Elizabeth painted her face white, became a born-again virgin (which I’m sure was tasking) and married England; Monica Lewinsky saved the stained dress. We are multi- dimensional, intense and influential; we are more than submissive roles. My work depicts the beautiful and ugly as well as the joyous and painful.

Also featured in this submission is work from my series, Channeling Gordon Parks (CGP)– inspired by the legend. It captures the raw truths of America through my eyes using Gordon Parks’ photography as catalyst for my work; a lot of what he disliked about America during his time, still exists today.

In light of the death of Eric Garner and injustices against countless others, we marched. And we are still marching, trying to find a way to deal with the blow of racism that still plagues our country.

My artistic vision for my work is that people feel something; whatever the effect/visceral affect, is of no consequence. I want anyone who witnesses any genre of my work, to feel deeply, strongly, unyielding. And may that force be powerful enough for viewers to carry away something that alters a part of them— whether it is in thought, action, desire or speech. It is then I’ll know I’ve effectively done what I’ve been called to do.

Bio:
Danielle Eliska Lyle is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. As a gifted writer, filmmaker and photographer, she has written/directed feature documentaries, short films and theatre plays. Her photography work as been a part of several exhibitions, including shows at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, the Los Angeles Center of Digital Art, Soho Photo Gallery and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.

Danielle wrapped a short film/photography collaboration earlier this year and is currently working toward directing her first feature narrative film project.

Artist’s website: www.danielleeliska.com